So have come home(which I think I can call it, though I don't yet feel like I really live here) from a great lunch with my beautiful friend Pam from Melbourne, who's in town by Divine Coincidence, with her best friend. We ate and wined and they were ready to take on more world, but I was already ready for uptown. So I came back to the apartment. And what should I find in my window box, but a second egg! What does that mean? I thought the first egg was the possible production of my comedy. The second...? Is it time for the Memoir?(hate the word.)
The prideful papa has just come back to the railing of my not-quite terrace, and he is perched there, tweeting. I tried to come closer to better observe his feathers, to deeper determine the kind of bird he is, but my movement seemed to have frightened him away. His bride is still resting comfortably in the box, warming the eggs, I guess sort of comfortable with my presence by now.
After a wonderful New York dinner, the kind of thing you can be grateful to New York for, trying to get past/over/beyond the endless sites of construction/guard against/repair that make up and mar the streets, realizing of course that what this city is all about is profit, I brought the gifted and generous actor/director Nick Corley back to see my bird. Nick is that most unusual, unique thing in the theatrical world, or more probably anywhere: selfless. I came to know him through an unexpected and lovely friendship with the wife of a noted producer who supported me in my creative theatrical efforts, who then turned away from me for reasons I didn't know or understand. But Nick told me last night that she had been told I said I didn't need her anymore.
Baffling. I'd never said or thought any such thing. Just had been puzzled by the abandonment, and given up trying to reconnect. Other times in my life I'd actually lost whole communities, quite a feat for a woman more or less on her own, for example when my novel, Touching, had been the basis for the landmark libel suit in fiction, which is a saga I should probably write while I still can. I'd gone to a nude encounter (Yes, really) at the tail end of the Sixties, and written a tale of a woman in midst of a marital crisis who'd attended. I'd given the fictional practitioner a beard and a huge head of hair, the real Self-Aggrandizer conducting the thing, being bald and clean-shaven. The practitioner sued me, claiming I'd looked on his Nude Encounter with a scathing eye (Really?) The case took nine years to come to court, and by the time it did, Bindrim, the alleged doctor, had grown a gigantic beard, let the fringe of his hair grow long, wound it around his head and gotten a PhD from a mail order college in Westwood. My lawyer had not prepared for court, as he'd considered the whole thing and the man himself a joke.
The jury didn't understand what Fiction was, and was madder at me for going to a nude marathon than they were at him for conducting it. I lost. My publisher, Doubleday, having defended it all the way to the Supreme Court on the basis of the First Amendment, when the Supremes, as I too blithely thought to call them, with the exception of Justices Brennan, Stewart and Marshall declined to hear it, then turned and sued me. So I was a pariah, terrified, and borderline impoverished. Not the right costume for a writer of what I hoped was sharp fiction.
My husband, the nicest man in America, but a son of the Bronx where trouble was the side street, was devastated. And I, a formerly bestselling author, was without a career. Don Fine, a maverick publisher took me on a few lists down the road. But he was more or less over, and so was I. But that of course was when people still bought books, in stores, that were still open.
Even writing this I can feel myself growing older, graver, and less joyful about being alive, with eggs underneath a bird on my sort-of sill. I am going to quit now and get dressed and try and get into the matinee of a musical comedy.
Good Lord!-- one day long ago that's who I was and what and who I wanted to become. Today I am just grateful that a Morning Dove-- which is what she is, we looked it up, the advantage of having endured till the world was online-- is on my not-exactly sill. And the sun is coming out.
P.S. Some weeks later: that's 'Mourning Dove.' Apparently life is more grieved over than beginning.